With Christmas upon us, one of the favourite gifts for this time of the year is chocolate, so it seemed like a good time to look at some interesting bits and pieces about this food.
Chocolate as we know it first started as a drink which originated with the Aztecs.
The Chocolate Cream Bar was first mass produced in 1866 and holds the record as the oldest chocolate bar.
Milk Chocolate was invented in Switzerland.
Tempering, which is essential to make chocolate melt in the mouth, was accidently discovered by Rudolfe Lindt.
The Lindt Milk Chocolate Bar debuted in 1879, Hersheys Bar came out in 1894, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Bar in 1905, and Toblerone debuted in 1908.
Pralines were invented in Belgium by Neuhaus in 1912
The Whitmans Sampler (boxed chocolates) was first released in 1912. Boxed chocolates are probably one of the easiest and tastiest of all gifts to give and receive – especially at Christmas.
Ruby, the now fourth variety of chocolate (joining white, milk and dark) was developed over nearly 15 years by Barry Callebaut (a Belgian–Swiss cocoa company) in 2017.
A box of chocolates over 100 years old has recently been found in the bottom of a bag containing Banjo Patterson letters and materials – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-21/old-box-of-chocolates-queen-victoria-boer-war-national-library/13001562?fbclid=IwAR0Wg-3nMy40QHqdzFZNt2kHaThPE5qD0CMqirtzstXjIkSjCQ_t2PyJVPQ
So how long can chocolate and still be safe to eat? There are some that would say who cares, it’s chocolate!!! However chocolate will have a best before date and it is unlikely to be anyone who has not ignored the date on the box to get a taste of that chocolatey yumminess, and we are lucky that this is one food which, if kept cool and contained will still be safe to eat for a long time, although the quality will reduce over time.
One thing is certain though, few of us will ever get the chance to see chocolate that is as old as Banjo’s, because it would be around that long.